EPICENTER 2018: A stellar supporting cast

All eyes are going to be on Team Liquid, FaZe and Na’Vi at EPICENTER 2018, but this is an event with one of the most exciting supporting casts in a long time. We’ve got crazy young talent, some American mavericks and the most exciting upcoming international mix since Carlos Santana worked with Rob Thomas. Don’t expect any of these sides to come away with the win, but don’t be surprised if they do serious damage at the event, as all four have what it takes to turn over any team.



The Finnish five are not that famous yet, but there are names among them you will know today, and names you will certainly be hearing a lot in future. Everyone in CSGO knows allu, maybe a little more intimately than they would like, but you can equally bet your Finnish plums that young star Sergej has only just started his journey into the wonderful world of CSGO, and has a long and fruitful road ahead of him.

The rest of his team isn’t bad either, and we know the top sides all have vulnerabilities, so there is a chance for ENCE to take another tournament win, having taken season 6 of the Starseries & i-League competition over the likes of North, mousesports and NRG. This would be a step up from that win, but the team is evolving and shouldn’t be written off.



Often flying under the radar, Avangar have quietly been making some waves in recent months, somewhat powered by the form of their star man Jame. His form over their past few events has really caught the attention of some big names in the scene, including a standout performance in New York that saw them beat flavour of the month compLexity on one of esports’ biggest stages.

Their team does not match up well against CIS rivals Na’Vi and you can imagine the pressure a young player feels coming up against s1mple, electronic and Zeus but, like ENCE, this is a hungry young team looking to put themselves on the map. Furthermore, with the number of opportunities in the CIS region right now, there is a real element of "shop window" for any player that feels they have the potential to step up, which more than one of Avangar really do.



It seems a bit unfair on HellRaisers that they are in this second group, of teams that might have a chance, while NiP are considered to be a better bet for a win, but there is logic behind that. While there is no doubt the international mix have a stupid amount of talent in the likes of w0xic and ISSSA, there is no real substitute for experience and bottle, something HellRaisers seemingly have in short supply, at least the former.

Of the four "other teams", they are probably the best, though, and may feel a bit aggrieved that they are losing the limelight to the likes of ENCE and Swole Patrol. Expect them to go big here after an impressive showing in London, and watch out for w0xic on dust2, where he is virtually unmatched in modern CSGO.

Swole Patrol


The last and least-expected team to make it here are the American mix known as Swole Patrol, led by Freakazoid, but they are in it to win it now they have arrived. A qualifier victory over Virtus.pro says as much about the Polish side as it does Swole Patrol, but there is no doubt the Americans believe in themselves, as they’d have to to make it this far.

Freakazoid is known for his part in the infamous s1mple bullying incident, but other members of the team are also persona non grata around the US scene, including MarkE, who is known for "ghosting", or watching the streams of other players while in competition with them. If the muscle boys make it far it will be a shock to end all shocks but anything is possible in the world’s greatest esport.

Related: EPICENTER title contenders